Agriculture – including crop and livestock production, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture – and biodiversity are strongly intertwined. The agricultural sector depends heavily on biodiversity, its components and the ecosystem functions and services it underpins. At the same time, agriculture is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. The intensive use of land, water and external inputs has put severe pressure on organisms living in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, including beneficial insects in agricultural fields, such as pollinators and natural enemies of pests. Global pesticide use has continued to grow over the past 20 years. More than four million tons of pesticides were applied globally in 2019.

The EU-funded ACP MEAs 3 programme aims to enhance sound biodiversity and agrochemical management at both field and policy levels in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. ACP MEAs 3 promotes agroecological practices, such as agroforestry, mixed crop-livestock systems, crop rotation, that can help farmers to increase the levels of biodiversity in their fields, enhance natural control measures of pests and diseases and transition to more climate-resilient farming systems.

The programme contributes to strengthening environmental governance by mainstreaming biodiversity into agricultural policies, plans and programmes at national, regional and global levels. Capacity building activities support the implementation of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) and, indirectly, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

ACP MEAs 3 also consolidates the progress made in phase two of the programme (ACP MEAs 2) in assisting countries in mitigating environmental and social risks associated with the use of highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). HHPs banned in high-income countries continue to be readily available and used in many developing countries with poor regulatory and monitoring frameworks.

Contribution Towards the Sustainable Development Goals
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